American Oversight filed two lawsuits today, seeking records from multiple federal agencies of communications with and about two casino magnates and major Trump donors whose businesses have likely benefited from the current administration’s decisions: Sheldon Adelson and Steve Wynn.
In November, American Oversight began investigating how much sway Adelson, who donated tens of millions of dollars to support Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, has had over administration policy. We submitted Freedom of Information Act requests to the Departments of Commerce, State and Treasury for communications related to Adelson or his casinos, as well as for communications with Adelson himself. We also asked for records related to a dinner that former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had at the White House in February 2017 with the president, Jared Kushner, Adelson, and Adelson’s wife, Miriam. Adelson also met with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in July 2017, and we’ve asked for records related to that meeting as well.
American Oversight is also seeking records related to Steve Wynn, the former CEO of Wynn Resorts and another top GOP donor — who served as finance chair of the Republican National Committee after Trump’s election — to see whether he may have exerted undue influence on administration policy. Earlier this year, American Oversight uncovered emails showing that in 2017, the White House had asked to meet with the Justice Department official who was working on litigation involving Wynn. For years, Wynn had been fighting a 2011 Obama administration Labor Department rule prohibiting companies like Wynn’s casinos from pooling tips among all employees, including supervisors. In late 2017, a few months after the meeting was requested, the Trump administration revised the regulation to be friendlier to employers.
In February of this year, American Oversight filed FOIA requests for communications that officials in the Justice and Labor departments had with the White House about Wynn, or that they had directly with Wynn or his business representatives. The departments’ failure to provide records in response to those requests or the earlier Adelson FOIA requests prompted today’s lawsuits.
This is not the first time American Oversight has sued for records that might show Adelson’s influence in the administration. In March of this year, we sued the Justice Department for records that could shed light on whether Adelson or other outside influences played a role in the sudden reversal of a 2011 legal opinion on online gambling. Adelson had long sought further restrictions on online gambling and has lobbied for such changes over the years.
Both complaints are below: